Your browser is not supported any more. Download your preferred modern browser and STAY secure!

Virtual Arts: Modern Greek art: between metakenosis and Greekness


Hellenic American Union Theater

“Hellas in Bloom: Creative Greece”
Thodoris Koutsogiannis talks about visual arts with Nikos Vatopoulos. 

The birth of the modern Greek state, following the Revolution of 1821 undoubtedly turned modern Hellenism abruptly towards the West. Greek visual art, for example, —at least, at the level of the best-known Greek artists—adopted the lexicon and aesthetics of Western European art, operating in a context of transfusion—or metakenosis, to use the term coined by Adamantios Korais—which would continue to hold true for 20th-century modernism. The notion of “Greekness,” in terms of art and the broader visual culture, in the light of the post-Byzantine and folk tradition, would come under scrutiny a century or so later during the interwar period, with the so-called Generation of the ’30s, following the Destruction of Smyrna (1922) and the uprooting of the Greeks of Asia Minor.

Using trends and representative works, particularly in painting, sculpture, and architecture, as a starting point, the discussion will explore the historical, cultural and aesthetic terms of artistic creation in Greece, from the beginnings of the 19th to the late 20th century.

Thodoris Koutsogiannis

Thodoris-Koutsogiannis-photo-2.jpgThodoris Koutsogiannis studied archaeology and art history at the University of Athens (BA 1996, MA 2000, PhD 2008). In the context of his post-graduate studies, he attended training and classes in universities and research institutes abroad (Sapienza University of Rome, 1998 and 2000; The Warburg Institute, London, 2001–2002; Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, 2003; Istituto di Studi Umanistici, University of Florence, 2005–2008; Princeton University, 2011). His research interests include European art of the 15th to the 18th century (from Renaissance to Neoclassicism), as well as contemporary Greek art, focusing on iconography and its interpretation in the wider context of visual representation, as a history not only of art but of image, in terms of a “visual culture.” He has taught history of European art at the University of Athens (2009, 2011, 2018), the University of Thessaly (2010), the Hellenic Open University (2009–2014), and the University of Patras (2018–2019). He has curated exhibitions for the Hellenic Parliament, the National Archaeological Museum, and the Municipal Art Gallery of Chania. Since 2019, he has been serving as Chief Curator of the Hellenic Parliament Art Collection.

Nikos Vatopoulos


Nikos Vatopoulos was born in Athens in 1960. He is a columnist at the daily newspaper Kathimerini and a writer. He has been writing on culture for the press since 1988. From 2007 to 2014, he was in charge of the cultural section of Kathimerini’s daily and Saturday issues. Since 2014, he has been contributing opinion pieces on various topics. In 1999, he also worked for a time at the newspaper To Vima.

In 2011, he founded the citizens’ group “Every Saturday in Athens” which has some 65,000 members.

He is specialized in issues of modern Athenian history and architecture. In 2014, he presented a selection of photographs from Athens in a solo exhibition titled “Athens of an Athenographer” at “ena” gallery. He has also organized and presented the thematic exhibition “Athens of the 1960s” at the Hellenic American Union (2014).

He has authored the books Facing Athens (published in Greek in 2001 and 2008, and later also in English), Περπατώντας στην Αθήνα (2018), Μικροί δρόμοι της Αθήνας (2019), Όπου και να ταξιδέψω. Περπατώντας σε 24 πόλεις της Ελλάδας (2019), and Στο βάθος του αιώνα. Ένα αφήγημα για την Αθήνα (2020). 

He has given speeches on aspects of the history of Athens. He is a member of DIAZOMA Association.

He has collaborated with many publications and magazines.

In 2014, he was awarded the Gina Bachauer- Nikolaos Dumbas award for Cultural and Social Contribution.

He holds an MA in European Studies (1985) from the University of Reading (United Kingdom).

Check Them Out

Back to top